When it comes to LM, I can tell you all about it. You need to know how to search in LM before you write it off completely. I have booked more than 10 redemptions with LM and I must say it’s one of the best.
I think the main reason you can’t find any space is because you are searching at cities that are not serviced by first class. Not many cities nowadays have first class. As LM doesn’t allow mixed cabin, if any of the segment that contains a two cabin flight, it won’t show. Eg. If you are planning to go to Amsterdam(AMS) as it’s not a star alliance hub, you’ll need to transit, most likely Frankfurt (FRA). There aren’t any first class service between FRA to AMS, so if you search BKK to AMS you will never find first class on LM search engine.
What you need to food search BKK-FRA, then there will be plenty of F spaces. (Of course that’s assuming you book far enough in advance. If you are looking for space in next 3 months it’s too late). Then FRA-AMS you will need a separate ticket.
So you need to know which cities and what airlines has F service. Forget Singapore air as you can’t book first class on it with any other partners’ miles. Forget Lufthansa as LM blocks it (it only release on last 14 days anyway so not a big loss). Swiss’ F is only open to their own elite members. Asiana does not service F to Europe. So only Thai and ANA service F to Europe that can be booked with LM (and other star alliance program).
Thai service F to London, Frankfurt and Paris. They used to service Rome and Munich as well but that has been cut. ANA service F to London and Frankfurt. They used to service Paris but also cut. Also note that all ANA’s European flight depart from Haneda now rather than Narita, so you need to make sure you pick the right airport.
LM had an IT glitch since last December so you can’t find any availability from Australia to Europe via SE Asia. You will need a special technic called screenshots, which I have written in detail to Keith and is awaiting to be published. Please stay tuned for that. Once you know the trick, you can book first class flights from SYD to Europe easily.
After knowing these information, I can tell you availability in Star Alliance is way better than OW. If you are happy to book 11-12 months out, you can pick whatever date you want, unlike Qantas which only release mid week flights. So contrary to what LLO says, I find Star Alliance has a lot more availability than OW. I think it’s because it’s not as easy to book them and many people just give up and go and snatch up whatever that’s left in OW.